When you work from home and you have kids, you have many hats to wear and tasks to juggle, all in one place. You can’t really get up and “get away from it all” the way that parents who work outside the home do but at the same time, you have many benefits that those who work at home do not have. So how can you be the type of parent you want to be when you work at home, too?
It’s all about balance. This is probably something you’ve heard a million times before but how do you really put it all into action in your own life?
The first thing you need to know is that you need to be flexible. Planning and organizing will be important but you always have to stay flexible with the schedule and take some things as they come. This is the beauty of being able to work from home, after all. You have the unique advantage of being able to “go with the flow” and as a work at home parent, sometimes you’re going to need to put this into action.
Here are some other ways that you can be a good parent when you work from home:
Create a Schedule- While it’s true that your schedule needs to be flexible and you should be comfortable with deviating from it now and again, you still need to have a schedule. Your children need a schedule and they need to have a general idea of what yours is, when you will be working, when you take breaks and what times during the day you have set aside for them and for family activities. The schedule will change and some days it will bend or even break but having it there as that structure that you base your day around is important.
Know Your Priorities- Some days these might change. Sure, your children always come first but when you have a big deadline looming and the kids are doing ok, it’s alright to put your work first. It’s also important to sort out work and family priorities. You may not be able to do every little thing that comes up and you shouldn’t feel guilty about this but when you set your priorities, you can be sure you make it to all the really important things- both with work and family.
Keep Communication Open- When you communicate with your kids and family it makes everything go more smoothly. Explain to children, regardless of age, why you have to work and what hours you will be dedicated to work. Explain to them what they should do in an emergency and when and how they are allowed to interrupt you. Then commit to making time with them each day as well so they do not feel neglected for your work. With older children, explain the importance of your work and its benefit to the family. Don’t forget to make proper time for them as well.
Seek Help When Needed- If you feel overwhelmed, are facing a crisis or work emergency or just need a little extra help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. You don’t have to be Supermom or Superdad all the time. Accepting help reduces stress, allows you to be there for your kids and sets a good example for your children that there is nothing wrong with seeking help when needed.
Take Advantage of Opportunities- If you are the parent of an infant, get as much as you can done during naptime. If your kids leave home for school, do meetings/calls and important tasks while they are away and if someone wants to take the kids off your hands for a day then go ahead and let them. When you work from home, you need to take advantage of the opportunities when they come.